It is imperative that the state of Michigan create government transparency to combat pollution and ensure public health. The construction industry is responsible for as much as 5 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. But until recently, there was little accountability for what concrete companies were doing. Since that time, the industry has taken steps to improve transparency. In fact, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association announced that it reduced its carbon footprint by 13 percent in five years. It attributed this to improved efficiency in using portland cement and recycled materials.
The Michigan Transparency In Concrete Industry initiative has also made an impact on the industry’s supply chain. Since 2005, it has produced a comprehensive directory of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and environmental benchmarks. A recent study by Athena Sustainable Materials Institute showed that the concrete industry contributes more than $5 billion to local economies, which is the largest share of the total. However, transparency in concrete industry is still limited.
In February, lawmakers held a hearing on the concrete industry in Michigan. One of the topics was the lack of transparency by the state’s government. The MEDC is the corporate welfare arm of the state. The Center for Public Policy said the organization has a $9.38 billion tax credit liability, which is less than the state’s entire revenue of $9.5 billion. This hearing brought transparency into focus because of the controversial deals with corporate incentive groups.